BambooHR Extends Its Expertise to Payroll Management

By Juan Martinez Features PCmag

Integrating human resources (HR) software with payroll processing tools helps give your HR team much needed organization and speed. The ability to oversee budgetary constraints alongside staffing needs, or to discontinue scheduled payments to former staffers with one click, are just two of the many ways in which HR and payroll tools can work in concert to streamline operations.

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To that end, PCMag Editors' Choice HR tool, BambooHR, has unveiled Bamboo Payroll, an administrator and end-user console that gives everyone at your company access to payments information, tax services, and deduction management, among many other features. Bamboo Payroll, which can be pre-ordered for online delivery in March, can be purchased as a BambooHR add-on for $25 per month plus $4 per employee per month (on top of your existing BambooHR subscription).

"We're making payroll a seamless experience, not just a process," said Ben Peterson, CEO and Co-Founder of BambooHR, in a statement. "That means no more double entry, no more manual errors, and more time to focus on the things that really matter: your people."

The Payroll Experience

Within the Payroll console, users will be able to view paystubs as full-color graphs that emphasize things like taxes, deductions, and pay. As I previously mentioned, employees are able to log into the self-service portal to adjust their deduction and direct deposit preferences without having to contact HR; the interface for payment settings is the same as the BambooHR interface, so companies won't have to retrain staffers to take advantage of the payroll features.

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Bamboo Payroll auto-generates end-of-year W2s for employees and 1099s for independent contractors, and automatically enters the documents in the employee's self-service portal in BambooHR. Companies that are interested in extending the console to scheduling and shift planning software will be happy to hear that Bamboo Payroll integrates with third party solutions like Ximble.

The BambooHR Experience

BambooHR starts at $7 per employee per month for a bundle that includes an applicant tracking system (ATS) and performance management. It is immediately unclear how much Bamboo Payroll will cost as an add-on or as a stand-alone tool.

Although BambooHR (which leads its class in our human resources management roundup) covers nearly every aspect of your company's HR needs, one of the major strikes we had against it was its lack of prepackaged payroll and scheduling tools. Bamboo Payroll presumably addresses this void.

As an HR tool, BambooHR's benefits administration allows companies to track custom benefit packages, including 12 different benefit types for specific employee groups. BambooHR includes the option to set a variable rate health plan, which allows you to track age-based plans and any health benefit where each individual employee pays a different, varied amount. Finally, added benefits reports allow tracking of historical benefit information for use when filling out Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant forms, such as the 1095-C and 1094-C. Benefits reports in BambooHR provide benefit history including eligibility, enrollment, coverage, and cost; all forms are exportable.

The tool's performance management features offer quadrant-style matrices that plot out how employees are doing compared to colleagues, separating the "rock star" performers from those who are "checked out." The entire process is simpler to set up and execute than comparable review processes from competitor systems.

BambooHR features 27 prepackaged integrations including Google Drive, but the partnerships are a lot less sexy than some of its competitors in the space, which is why it's good to see Bamboo building out its own connecting tools. Bamboo could still benefit from integrations found in other HR tools, such as tie-ins with Office 365, Salesforce, or ride-sharing apps like Lyft. Yes, BambooHR does feature an open application programming interface (API), which means you can integrate the tool with other open API tools, but that requires your teams to have the technical acumen to make this happen. We'd prefer to see Bamboo build these connections right out of the box for its clients. Bamboo Payroll is an excellent first step.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.